Qigong, Tai Chi and Mind-Body Unity

By Rob Sayre

My wife and I became students of tai chi nine years ago. We attend one class per week, which lasts one hour with our teacher and practice at home several times a week.

I’d like to share how it has benefited us as well as how this ancient practice fits into some popular trends of mindfulness and from Father Moon’s teachings on Mind-Body Unity or the First Blessing.

Taming or fostering a focused mind is at the core or the first steps in achieving unity between our thoughts and actions.

From The Way of Unification:

“You may feel your mind changing many times in the course of a day. Because your mind varies, your direction also varies, and because your direction varies, your purpose varies too. You cannot fulfill one purpose when your mind varies. It is not simple to fulfill a goal with one mind; how much more difficult it is to fulfill it with two! Thus one mind is necessary.”

Once our mind is focused and calm, we can focus it on love or heart and connect to God. The unity of our thoughts and actions is the place where love can abide and we can connect with God. So there are really two steps involved.

From the chapter on Heart from New Hope: Twelve Talks by Sun Myung Moon:

“Which comes first, unity or love? You can love yourself when your mind and body are in harmony with each other. If you love yourself when your desire and actions are going different directions, then your love has little meaning. When your mind and body are united into one, then God will eternally protect your love. Unity is the beginning point of love, the point where love can come to abide. This is God’s ideal. Unless God can find persons whose quality is in accordance with His ideal, He cannot be happy at all. He has no one He can love.”

Qigong is the practice of moving meditation, rooted in Taoism. It serves a similar role as meditation, but also has components that include self-massage and wellness. Tai chi is a subset of qigong and adds a martial arts component and also provides strength and flexibility training as well as balance and memory enhancement. Tai chi was originally developed as a way to practice martial arts, which was forbidden in China. The slow movements disguised the very powerful martial applications.

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Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother: Two Gods or One?

By David Burton

In Divine Principle, one of the first principles in Chapter 1, “The Principle of Creation,” is that of resemblance whereby we deduce things about the characteristics of God from common characteristics of everything we observe. That we observe male and female beings suggests that God as described by Divine Principle is a God of both masculinity and femininity in a way quite different to the traditional Christian view of God.

However, until relatively recently we have inherited our common operating perception of God directly from Christianity and prayed to a Heavenly Father, not a Heavenly Mother. Then, five years ago, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon asked us to start to pray to Heavenly Parent rather than Heavenly Father. For me this was a sea change and wakeup call to the fact that the view of God in Divine Principle is not the traditional Christian view of God.

My wife picked up on this first and often had to remind me who I was praying to during family prayers. Coming from a Christian culture praying to a Heavenly Father was totally ingrained for me and a new word for God quite disconcerting at first. Praying to Heavenly Parent is significantly different because it also acknowledges the Divine Feminine presence in the Godhead. It pushes us to come to grips with the content of Divine Principle that suggests God is both male and female.

Since 2013, there has been a growing awareness within Unificationism that we need to deal with God as Heavenly Mother as well as Heavenly Father. Personally coming to accept God also as Heavenly Mother has been part and parcel of my accepting Mother Moon in her leadership role in the church.

Accepting the Divine Feminine is not without issues of its own, though — not least of which are the mental ontological contortions involved with imagining how male and female can be combined into one substance.

The underlying reason for this perceptual difficulty is much deeper than personal imagination of a mental image. It goes to the philosophical roots of the Christian tradition. More than just being difficult to imagine, accepting Heavenly Mother in addition to Heavenly Father is in fact ontologically impossible within the context of traditional Christian monotheism.

In this article, I explore why that is so and posit a potential solution based in Divine Principle and science. We accept Divine Principle as a “New Truth” but struggle to articulate exactly how it is new. This issue of Heavenly Mother cuts directly to the core of the newness of Divine Principle.

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Climate Change: Rethinking the Debate

By Rob Sayre

The debate about climate change has mirrored the political divide in the U.S., with the political party in power standing behind their own understanding and agenda.  President Obama signed the Paris Climate Accord and in June, President Trump pulled out of this international agreement to limit CO2 emissions and reduce the worldwide temperature by 2°C.

At the heart of the disagreement is whether or not the rises in temperatures are manmade. Over 30,000 scientists and others insist no. Just as many other scientists, including those from NASA, say yes.

The U.S. military is already planning how to respond to rising sea levels regardless if this is due to man’s activity, natural forces, or both. Pope Francis in his encyclical on climate change, exhorts us: solving climate change means protecting the planet and vulnerable people, and we must hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”  Faith can guide us. “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains – everything is, as it were, a caress of God.”  Other religious views provide a similar outlook.

The Foreword to God’s Will and the Ocean, Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s collected words on the ocean providence, notes,

“The Third Blessing exhorts humankind to take its proper position in the universe: ‘. . . and replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and of the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ Thus humankind indeed becomes the God-centered caretaker of the world, empowered by the benevolent love of God rather than greed and selfishness. In essence, these are the responsibilities of humankind, and when respectively fulfilled, they become the wonderful blessings of life.”

If we substitute stewardship for dominion, I think we get the essence of what Father Moon taught about man’s proper relationship with the Creation.

One Metric is Not Enough

Worldwide temperatures are too broad a metric to use as a decision-making tool. This one metric is being used to guide nations worldwide to make significant policy decisions and monetary investments. The scope is too large and while not inaccurate, it is less relevant and helpful in making decisions. Does anyone use the average temperature of their country to determine their current driving conditions? Of course not. We use more relevant and local predictive tools. And so it should be with climate change.

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The Future Belongs to Those Who Build It

By John Redmond

Here is the good news:  The Heavenly Kingdom is coming whether or not the Unification Movement has anything to do with it.

I’ve been reading a series of future-oriented books: Al Gore’s The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, Thomas Friedman’s Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, and the most interesting, Who Owns the Future? by computer scientist and father of virtual reality Jaron Lanier.

All three books tackle the same theme: how the convergence of multiple areas of science and technology, each developing at exponential rates, will transform the world in an unrecognizable way in the next 20 years. It takes about two decades for an idea to move from the lab to mass acceptance.

The iPhone debuted in 2007 and in 10 years both it and its competitors have made humans omniscient all over the planet, each with a library and powerful computer in the palm of their hand. “Google it” has become the ultimate argument settler.

In this sense, we are not predicting the future; we are timing the growth of ideas from concepts to products to mass acceptance.

The computer revolution by itself has been shocking and globally transformational and now add the imminence of robotics and the ability to end world hunger with genetically engineered protein.  Whether you like “Franken food” or not, starving people will love it.

Both artificial intelligence and robotics are on the cusp of creating either mass unemployment or a world where 80% of the people can live like the European elites did in the last century: vast houses, helpers everywhere, lots of leisure time to improve yourself, and cheap or free transportation everywhere.

Artificial Intelligence is demonstrating that it can not just calculate your bank balance in a microsecond, but predict health issues better than doctors, write better news stories than reporters, and beat anyone at Jeopardy.

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Interpreting the Principle: The Transformative and the Objective

By Keisuke Noda

The Unification Movement (UM) faces a number of challenges, most obviously denominational divisions. But another challenge is the relevance of the UM and its core teachings or beliefs to contemporary society and future generations who are expected to respond and succeed.

Such a challenge is difficult because it is not readily observable, and the way to approach or conceptualize this challenge is unclear. The issue is “hidden” presuppositions we take for granted that shape a wide array of our understandings and experiences.

For some, this article may seem merely an intellectual exercise. But the matter of presuppositions has far reaching implications for all practical exercises and activities, particularly the question of what they mean.

The Principle as Interpretive Framework

The Divine Principle (the Principle), the core teaching of Unificationism, provides a framework with which to interpret biblical texts, human experiences, historical narratives, and a broad range of phenomena from a theological perspective. The Principle is thus a Unificationist theoretical framework of interpretation.

But is the Principle free from interpretation? Or is human understanding necessarily interpretive and is the Principle thus subject to interpretation?

Human understanding is unavoidably interpretive and the framework of interpretation (the Principle) is subject to interpretation. I consider how one’s ontological stance affects his/her interpretation of the Principle.

First, I highlight two contrasting stances in interpreting the Principle, the objective and the transformative.

I then explore how such contrasting perspectives affect one’s interpretation of religious phenomena in Unificationism.

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Women, Science and the Future of Unificationism

By Alison Wakelin

Transitions are difficult, as both the Unification movement and world are discovering right now.  Restoration mode has given way in emphasis to further revealing of the Principles of Creation, and science is now coming into its own as a source of new insights for a new age. While it may be challenging to let go of previous modes of operating as a spiritual movement, we find deep truths emerging today in many fields which must be incorporated into any realistic and comprehensive future for Unificationism.

As women have become more involved in the academic and scientific world, a general picture is emerging of the differences between a man’s perspective and woman’s perspective. I remember my boss asking 20 years ago, “but what is women’s science?” I couldn’t tell him back then, but now I would be able to reply that women see things from a more holistic perspective, they often think more in pictures, more intuitively, and take in the whole of a situation at once.  Men tend to think in a more linear fashion, work out truths sequentially, and build up a worldview according to this method.

As a means for freeing people’s minds from the domination of the church in the early days of Western European science, the more male-oriented methods worked well, cutting out an ever-expanding corner of truth that held its own in rational circles, and gradually taking over as the predominant worldview in the West. However, its own success has brought us to a day when it is not unusual to find accomplished scientists asking if maybe science has simply tied itself up in its own strings. With uncountable solutions to the currently popular string theory (a highly theoretical mathematical scheme that regards a one-dimensional string as the most fundamental building block of matter), and no way to distinguish between these solutions, this has to be a valid question.

Even in the West, certainly since the early days of quantum physics and relativity, there has been a secondary track within science, based on the idea that matter itself is in some sense conscious, or at least has some kind of internal nature.

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The Real Four Position Foundation as Discovered in Theoretical Particle Physics

By James M. Powell

After escaping concentration camp in Heungnam, North Korea in 1950, Dr. Sun Myung Moon wrote the book, Ideal of the Circular Garden of Harmony. This text, lost during the Korean War (1950-53), was re-written as Original Text of the Divine Principle and eventually translated into English as Exposition of the Divine Principle (EDP) in 1996.

As you will see, the “Circular Garden of Harmony” refers to the underlying harmonious circular structure of the cosmos, the “garden,” at the elementary level.

In my previous AU Blog article in November 2016, “The Science of Spiritual Life and Death,” I stated there exist in the Principle theory unsubstantiated, or at least unverified, claims. In this article, I state this in relation to the Four Position Foundation specifically as the so-called foundation of the life of all beings.

What is the foundation of the life of all beings? What proof do we have that the Four Position Foundation is the fundamental foundation of all physical beings, all spiritual beings, and even God?

For example, theoretical and experimental particle physicists might ask to show how the Four Position Foundation applies to the plentiful assortment of elementary particles that make up the cosmos at the smallest scales. But do we have a model for that? We do. It’s the Four Position Foundation.

I’m not referring to a vague model into which we roughly fit some broad concepts like only plus and minus, but discovered forces and particles and their interactions in a mathematical structure that works. It must be a mathematical structure because, according to the Principle, one aspect of God’s nature, the Logos, the blueprint of the cosmos according to the theory of the Principle, is mathematical.

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Medicine: Eastern or Western, Conventional or Complementary?

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By Catriona Valenta

img_0437-jpg_lucid_1Let me declare a conflict of interest. My career as a provider of Western medicine has greatly influenced me, and I have never chosen complementary medicine myself, nor have I recommended it to my patients.  And 38 years of membership of a spiritual organization has not left me unaffected. I have long been fascinated by the sometimes fine line between science, spirituality and superstition.

It is undeniable that there has been an enormous surge of interest in “alternative medicine,” and with the ageing of our own UC baby boomers, many of us have friends who may be tackling serious illness with non-conventional treatments.

What did Reverend Moon mean when in his 1987 speech to health care professionals in our movement he said we need a careful blending of the Eastern concept of medicine (what is already being done in the Orient) with Western medicine?

I offer my answers to the following questions:

  • What is the “Eastern concept” of medicine? How can we define Eastern and Western medicine? Is it a purely geographical distinction? Where does alternative medicine fit in?
  • What can the different approaches contribute to make a system of health care that is holistic, principled and ethical?
  • How can we make informed and balanced decisions and as health care professionals help our patients to do the same? What sources of information are trustworthy?
  • Why do so many people shun Western medicine and chose alternative therapies?

Definitions

“Western medicine” is a system based on science, and is “evidence-based.” Many cringe at this term, but can one criticize the wisdom of “the judicious use of best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients?”

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The Science of Spiritual Life and Death

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By James M. Powell

jamesmpowell72dpi-jpg_lucidThe Principle text claims it contains truth that is of a higher and richer content than previous similar works, and that it has a more scientific method of expression.

However, much of its content, specifically concerning life in the spirit world and how we relate with it from our positions here on the earth, is left unresolved and unexplained with regard to science.

One such topic that we find without a scientific explanation is that of the grace of spiritual resurrection. What is the science of resurrection? How does a person die spiritually and subsequently be resurrected? What is the actual process of spiritual death and spiritual rebirth?

The main reason people who have been spiritually resurrected believe they have been spiritually resurrected is because they felt it happen. Such resurrected are 100% sure they’ve been spiritually reborn even though they can’t scientifically explain it.

Here is the problem. A feeling or belief does not provide the modern scientifically trained and inquisitive mind with a satisfying or reasonable justification to believe that the proposed invisible spiritual resurrection is plausible.

What if someone you know sincerely asks you to explain how spiritual resurrection actually happens and they want to hear more than to just be told to believe and it will happen?

What if they genuinely want, and all they need, is a common sense understanding of this phenomenon in order to calm their doubting or questioning intellect before they make the step to believe? After all, it is noted in the Principle that without first understanding, beliefs do not take hold.

People are no longer happy to blindly believe nor should they need to.

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